Have you ever been Stuck in the Middle Seat™ on a long flight? It’s not very fun, is it? No room to stretch out, people on both sides of you who are oblivious to the fact that you have no place to put your baggage … or your elbows! This can lead to some pretty long, uncomfortable trips.
Taking this a step further, being Stuck in the Middle Seat™ can also represent any number of uncomfortable, unpleasant things in life. Of course, at its most basic and literal level, it’s a physical location. You’re in a house, office, or environment that is uncomfortable. Perhaps it is too noisy, you don’t get along with your neighbors, or your basic safety needs are not met. More often, however, it is a metaphor for a state of mind or an attitude. You’re in a career, relationship or “place” that isn’t optimal, yet for some reason you don’t take the steps to change your situation. In essence, you’re stuck. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Moving beyond being Stuck in the Middle Seat™ is a challenge all of us face, sooner or later.
Another way to look at being “stuck” is with your employee, customer or client relationships. Perhaps you have enjoyed a long period of business success, or market dominance and feel pretty comfortable. Upon closer examination, however, is there any chance you or your team have grown a bit complacent or feel “entitled” to your success? The first step in losing market share is when a leader or organization begins to rest on its laurels, and grows complacent. Success can lead to complacency … “we’re the best, why change?” Complacency can lead to arrogance. “We know the market better than anyone else, including our employees and customers.” Arrogance almost always leads to a disconnect from the customer and eventual failure.
So, the choice is yours. Do nothing, or take action. Are you willing to take the steps necessary to move beyond being Stuck in the Middle Seat™, however you identify it? It doesn’t matter if you identify areas in your personal or professional life. The key is to take action. Being too comfortable, complacent, risk-averse or simply afraid to make changes will only ensure that you are going to remain Stuck in the Middle Seat™!
So, all aboard, let the journey begin!